Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tell Me a Story: Teaching Toward Wisdom at London Christian

“Knowledge and wisdom are sort of connected, but they are definitely not the same thing.”                          - LCES Grade seven student - 

I heard the above sentence from a student expressing his thoughts while I listened in on a literature lesson underway in grade seven last week. The class had just been reading from a collection of short stories in which characters face challenging situations that leave them with a decision to make. For this particular story, their response to the decision was the focus of a discussion as students wrestled with simply knowing something vs acting on it with wisdom. It was a pleasure to be in the room and hear the group build on fellow classmates’ first reactions and identification of decisions and their wisdom (or lack of wisdom) for characters they seemed to be able to connect with.

I am thankful for teachers who create and sustain a classroom environment that welcomes students to think in these ways. I am also thankful for curriculum that supports both the teacher and the learner well, in this particular case as organized by the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools.

Here is a short excerpt for the teacher’s guide for the unit being studied that may help you get a sense of the perspective of valuing stories as a way of teaching wisdom:

Rationale: Why Teach Short Stories?

Enjoyment is an important aim for reading short stories. The short story writer’s prime motivation is to take one aspect of human or animal life and by crafting with the tools of the narrative (character, plot, setting, theme and point of view) invoke the emotions and intellect of the reader to laugh, to cry, to look up expectantly to God in the heavens, or to look sadly at the brokenness of our world.

Short stories can expand the mind’s horizon, since some short stories offer new insights as well as fresh ways of viewing things already known.

May the story of our children’s growth include the addition of much wisdom every day. SJ

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